I’m going to get really honest here. We all know social media is a highlight reel of the good moments in life. Our best days, our most flattering photos, our moments of excitement and goodness, our travels, and our nights out on the town–because who truly wants to share their crappiest moments with all of God’s creation? Come on…No one wants to be a drag, right? You run the possibility of being labeled attention-seeking or a negative person, and that’s definitely not the image most of us are going for in today’s world. Perfection sounds more like it!
The problem with hiding behind the facades of greatness that we portray on Facebook and Instagram is that we’re setting an unrealistic precedent for our peers. In a country who is obsessed with “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” we are all trying to measure up with a standard that is most unlikely for the majority of our paths.
I can remember when magazines were the only way to keep up with the latest fashion and beauty trends. Even then, while skimming through the latest Cosmo or Glamour, tons of women and girls were developing body image issues. After seeing professionally photoshopped pictures gracing the covers and pages, we wondered what could possibly make that model or actress so seemingly perfect. At least back then, we were only subjected to those feelings once a month when we received the latest issue in the mail.
Now, with the never ending instant availability of any and every seemingly flawless model, actress, and influencer at our fingertips (There’s SO MANY!), our obsession with perfection has been taken to an entirely new level. We know that nine times out of ten, there are filters and Photoshop involved in the editing process, which can magically make all skin imperfections and bodily flaws disappear. Even with that knowledge, the constant stream of perfection that we scroll through still makes us feel like we can’t measure up; that we must be doing something wrong; and that I’ll be happy once x, y, or z happens.
The problem with that mindset is we are missing out on some of life’s most beautiful moments because we can only focus on what we’re lacking and think we need, versus all the positive things that we have going on in our lives. I’m talking to myself here too as I know I’m a work in progress, so no finger pointing here!
The first time I ever heard anyone speak of the importance of gratitude other than church, is when Oprah still had her award-winning talk show. I mean, let’s be real. Hands down, it was one of the best shows ever to grace television. I learned more from the Oprah show than any other talk show, news episode, or YouTube video in existence. Whether she covered human trafficking, internet safety for kids, or her famed “Favorite Things” episodes at Christmas, you can guarantee you’d have a takeaway at the end of her show and feel more enlightened.
Oprah has always been one of the world’s biggest thought leaders. Her public platform over the years has helped create countless others following in her footsteps to create a better future for our children through self-awareness and perseverance, empathy, and having open hearts. Everyone has a story that has shaped their lives into who they are today, and she was the expert in allowing them to share those stories and experiences with the world.
It allowed for a level of voyeurism into the tales of people who may be misunderstood. It also gave a platform for celebrities, who’d always been placed on pedestals, to give their bios. Instantly, it allowed us to see them in a different light as they suddenly became ordinary humans like us. We learned that they had the same feelings and experiences that we have encountered in our lives. The only exception was that they had a career that made them famous, which can lead to a whole ‘nother set of trials that most of us don’t have to deal with, thank goodness! No fighting off paparazzi up in here!
The reality is we all have bad days. We’ve all had a bad relationship, a difficult job or boss, kids who don’t appreciate us, health concerns, loss of loved ones, money worries, friends who’ve hurt our feelings, family drama, feeling unattractive or uncomfortable in our own skin, feeling isolated or alone—the list goes on and on. The hard truth is that no one is immune from tragedy or heartache. Money doesn’t buy happiness or health. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. And no relationship is perfect.
At some point or another, we’ve all felt lost along the way and would give most anything to have someone point us in the right direction. We’ve all been overwhelmed. We’ve all felt guilt. If not, you may be a sociopath so get that checked out, please! Wink, but for real…
Listen, we all hurt, and it’s easy to get stuck in the victim mindset. Been there, done that. The thing is, it’s okay to have those moments as long as they’re fleeting. When it becomes a perpetual mindset and lifestyle, it doesn’t serve us. We tend to spiral down that rabbit hole of doom and gloom and negativity, which only perpetuates the circumstances that we’re attracting into our lives. Yeah, I know–it may be woo but it’s true, guys!
The law of attraction is some legit -ish! Once we shift our focus from all the things that are seemingly wrong or lacking in our lives to instead focusing on gratitude for even the smallest of circumstances, it takes on a ripple effect. When we begin to look for the good, we see it more. It will occur more. We’ll feel more content and have more joy in our lives.
It doesn’t prevent bad things from ever happening to us or make us immune from feeling blue at times, because that’s life. It’s okay to have those moments and is equally important to wholly feel those feelings and process them. You don’t want that stagnant energy bottled up inside so go through the emotions and begin the healing process.
These are periods we all must travel through during multiple points in our lives. Once we’ve processed them, we must learn to release them. Just be sure not to choose long-term parking there in that dark spot. If you do, you may become stuck, and it can prevent you from experiencing the abundance and joy that is available if you just make yourself open to it.
Hopefully, the low points are where we learn some of our biggest lessons in life, which will shape us into stronger and wiser versions of our current selves. We gain grit along the way, which is one of life’s most important traits, so there’s at least one positive point to gain from the sucky experiences we’ve all encountered at various points in our lives.
Like a baby learning to walk, they’re gonna fall down a hundred times, but a hundred times they will get back up and try again until they master it. That’s how we’re hard-wired, but we often go into a mode of self-preservation. We remember that it hurt when we fell, and we don’t want to experience that again. In response, we withdraw into ourselves and build walls to keep us in our box, our comfort zone, so that we’ll be safe and won’t be hurt again. You can blame the ego for that but it’s so important for us to try it, fall if we must, cry it out, and get back up to try again. That’s life and that’s how we were meant to live it.
My challenge for you (and me) is to keep a gratitude journal daily. Handwritten is preferred but if you’re a techie, there’s plenty of gratitude apps out there you can download on your phone. Some of them even send reminders if you forget to journal that day. Shoot for listing three things daily that you are thankful for. They can be as big or small as you’d like. There’s no rules other than get in the habit of writing your list of three daily.
There is always at least some good to be found even on hard days. As we get into the habit of taking the time to notice even the small things that we are grateful for, we will shift our mindsets to finding more good in the world and in our life.
If Instagram and Facebook leave you feeling like you don’t measure up or that you’re missing something in your life, maybe it’s time to take a hiatus for awhile from social media. See if you notice a shift in your mindset.
I gave up watching the morning news last year because it almost always was filled with bad news and negativity. I didn’t like starting my day off with vibes of worry, concern, sadness, or anger in hearing those stories so I just quit watching it. Cold-turkey, and guess what? It changed my vibe in the morning. Replace the news with something positive like journaling, meditation, prayer, or listening to an uplifting or encouraging podcast while you’re getting ready for work. You’ll be shocked how much it can start day off on a better note!
So today, I am thankful for you, reader, that you took the time out of your day to check out my blog. I hope it serves you in some way. I am overjoyed that we had a wonderful week of Fall Break to recharge and enjoy ourselves. Last but not least, I am loving our fall weather with its cooler temps and sunshine. Now your turn!
Thanks so much for stopping in! If you gained something from my post, it’d mean so much if you’d like and follow my blog by subscribing with your email on my site. If you think this message may help someone you know, I’d be ever so grateful if you’d share it on your social media. Until next time! xo, Christy